January 27, 2016

With Harriott Displaying His Multi-Faceted Game, Hun Boys’ Hoops Wins Thriller Over Lawrenceville


MR. BIG SHOT: Hun School boys’ basketball player Austin -Harriott puts up a shot over a Lawrenceville player last week. Senior forward Harriott hit a three-pointer at the end of first overtime in the January 19 contest to help spark Hun to a thrilling 68-66 win over the Big Red in double overtime. The Raiders, who improved to 7-7 with the triumph, play at Peddie on January 27 and at the Solebury School (Pa.) on January 30 before facing St. Anthony High on January 31 at the Pine Belt Arena in Toms River for the Mater Dei/Valerie Fund Basketball Challenge Showcase. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

The fate of the Hun School boys’ basketball team was in the hands of Austin Harriott as it trailed visiting Lawrenceville by three points in the waning seconds of overtime last week.

Dribbling the ball outside the three-point line, senior forward Harriott eluded a Big Red defender and launched a shot that swished through the hoop as he landed on his rear end, setting off a roar from the Hun fans.

“I saw the clock going down, I had to put it up,” said Harriott, reflecting on his buzzer beater. “The defender flew out at me and I gave him a pump fake and it just happened to go in. I kind of felt like it was going in.”

In the second overtime, Hun kept it going, holding off Lawrenceville for a dramatic 68-66 win as it snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 7-7.

“We made some free throws and got up to an early lead,” said Harriott. “In the first overtime, we lost the tip and they got the ball. They had the momentum so we just came out, got the tip, calmed down, and got some easy buckets.”

There was nothing easy about Hun’s win over Lawrenceville as the Raiders were down 21-18 at halftime, fell behind 46-37 midway through the fourth quarter, and trailed 55-51 with 15 seconds left in the first overtime.

“The whole game the coaches said just keep playing, it is not over so we just kept going,” said Harriott.

“They hit a big shot and then we hit a big shot; it was just going back and forth. It was just that type of game today.”

In Harriott’s view, the win was a big testament to the team’s character.

“Overall it shows that we are tough, that we don’t give up,” asserted Harriott. “We are going to play until the whistle blows and see what happens when we do. The harder and tougher we play, the better we play.”

Harriott, who has committed to attend Loyola University Maryland and play for its mens’ hoops program, looks to go hard all the time.

“I just try to keep everybody together,” said Harriott, who ended up with 14 points and 11 rebounds in the win over the Big Red.

“I play as hard as I can, rebound when I need to rebound, and do whatever my coach needs me to do. If he needs me to score, I will try to score. If he needs me to defend, I am going to try to defend.”

Hun head coach Jon Stone acknowledged that his team needed to play a lot better after a subpar first half.

“We did so many things poorly, it was just not a good half for us,” said Stone. “We couldn’t throw the ball into the ocean, that is for sure.”

With Hun down by nine late in regulation, Stone wasn’t sure that his team had a rally in it. “They were making great plays and great shots and we weren’t,” said Stone.

But the Raiders started making things happen down the stretch as they produced their improbable comeback.

“I think just some players were making some plays and believing in each other,” said Stone. “It was just staying the course. We just kept competing, we could have folded but we kept coming back. They are a really good team.”

Stone liked the way Harriott competed. “He had some unbelievable rebounds when we had to have them,” said Stone.

“He shot the ball well tonight. He is a multifaceted player and he did show it tonight. He showed the ability to do a little bit of everything and that is what makes him special.”

The team’s backcourt of postgraduate Jose Morales and battle-tested senior Niall Carpenter did some special things as Princeton-bound Morales scored 17 points while Carpenter tallied a game-high 22.

“Jose made some free throws and hit some shots,” said Stone. “Niall just competes so hard. His motor is so good, he makes plays. He is no stranger to making plays. He made them last year at times in big games and he has done it already this year so he is a great competitor.”

Hun’s rally showed that it possesses the resolve to fight to the end. “It says a lot about our ability to compete but we still have a lot to work on,” said Stone.

“It was a terrific game, both teams played great and it was just a lot of fun.”

Stone is hoping that his squad can work out some fine points with postseason play around the corner.

“We haven’t had a chance to be together a lot with all of the injuries we have had so we are still ironing out some details of chemistry, plays, and scheme,” said Stone, whose team plays at Peddie on January 27 and at the Solebury School (Pa.) on January 30 before facing St. Anthony High on January 31 at the Pine Belt Arena in Toms River.

“We are not where we normally are at this time of the year because we had a hard time getting guys healthy at practice. We have some time here and we have some great pieces.”

Harriott, for his part, believes the triumph over Lawrenceville should be a great morale booster for the Raiders going forward.

“This win should keep us going for the rest of the season,” said Harriott.

“I think we can compete with any team that we play. If we play as hard as we can, we can definitely win games.”